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2018/04/05
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MicroTCA Technology Lab opens at DESY

Helmholtz Innovation Lab an outstanding example of successful technology transfer

The MicroTCA Technology Lab opened at DESY on Thursday, an outstanding example of technology transfer from the field of fundamental research to broader practical applications. The facility is a Helmholtz Innovation Lab and is working on a versatile, precise and extremely reliable communications technology that can be used not only in particle accelerators but also, for example, in industrial automation settings. “The MicroTCA Technology Lab at DESY shows how much science and industry can learn and profit from one another,” says DESY’s Chief Technology Officer Arik Willner.

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DESY director Helmut Dosch (left) and Martin Kamprath from the Helmholtz Association at the opening of the TechLab. Credit: DESY, Marta Mayer
Top demands call for top precision, and this is available through the electronics standard MicroTCA.4, which DESY has been instrumental in developing and which is based on the well-established telecommunications standard Micro Telecommunications Computing Architecture. It was adapted for controlling the X-ray free electron laser European XFEL, for example, because operating such a major research facility makes very high demands, necessitating an extension of the standard in terms of safety, remote control and redundant operations. Today, the open electronics standard MicroTCA.4 not only ensures the safe operation of the particle accelerator used by European XFEL, it is also being used in other research institutions and by numerous industrial companies, in Germany and around the world.

MicroTCA Technology Lab was set up at DESY in order to give the business world access to the development of further applications, and has now been ceremoniously opened in the presence of DESY’s Board of Directors, the developers and partners from industry and commerce. The team at MicroTCA Technology Labs has already been working successfully with a number of renowned companies in the electronics industry for several years. Its industrial partners are CAENels, N.A.T., Schroff (PENTAIR), Powerbridge, Rohde & Schwarz, BEVATECH and elspec.

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The electronics standard MicroTCA.4, which DESY has been instrumental in developing, allows for versatile, precise and extremely reliable applications, not only in accelerator technology. Credit: DESY, Heiner Müller-Elsner
“The on-going development of the deliberately open standard is being driven forward both by industrial partners and by other research institutions, with everyone standing to benefit equally,” explains Willner. “We are particularly pleased that so many industrial companies are now coming to our Technology Lab, which is one of seven Helmholtz Innovation Labs in Germany. Contract developments, carrying out measurements, offering advice on the design of new systems, training courses, test runs and quality checks, as well as an open exchange of ideas at an annual workshop – all these services and elements of TechLab can benefit industrial companies.”

Helmholtz Innovation Labs are places where scientific expertise is brought together with the needs of industry and its customers. They give rise to long-term “enabling spaces”, in which ideas are tried out. Their aim is to involve corporate partners in joint development projects in the long term. This commercialisation concept, as a “Think and Do Tank”, distinguishes Helmholtz Innovation Labs from pure research labs.

 

MicroTCA TechLab: https://techlab.desy.de